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Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by thermodynamic, Oct 3, 2016.
Really I liked the President's remarks there as well as the idea of the SXSL event. TechCrunch put full coverage here.
This president, wow. I predict we'll miss him and that more of us will come to appreciate a lot of what he and his administration have accomplished; things that we may not even have noticed during his terms in office.
It's not fashionable any more to sound anything but cynical about the state of the USA, it sometimes seems to me. That may be why I like to start my mornings with a glimpse at my local paper's "On the Bright Side" and some of the CSM's offerings like "People Making a Difference", for example this one about a guy in India who has made an avocation of fixing leaky water taps in a country where water is so often so scarce:
His mission to fix leaky taps has saved millions of gallons of water
I put up that reference specifically because it's a hard sell in this polarized country now to get people to look around at the rest of the world and notice that we are not the only people who try to make things better, and who do make things better. We've become cynical not only about ourselves but about how the rest of the world behaves as well. This in the face of evidence that most of us may be a whole lot better bunch than the media choose to celebrate in order to sell us papers.
Of course I'm on record in this forum for having noted disappointment with some of President Obama's decisions and a lot of the decisions some unpatriotically obstructionist congressional sessions have handed him. That he himself has not become cynical during his tenure strikes me as something of a miracle, or at least a testament to his character and the value of having a supportive network of family and friends.
But nothing ventured, nothing gained and above all I appreciate that the President and his family have modeled American family life in an inspiring way (yes, including a few glimpses of some of the imperfections we all share). And of course I'd love to have that White House veggie garden in my back yard. I always wonder if the Secret Service is tempted to sneak just the tiniest of mini-harvests when they're out there having a look around.
Anyway I must say that garden has been a great contribution by Michelle Obama towards improving the grounds and functionality of the White House. I mean I know it's important for state dinners to have nice tableware and general decor, but demonstrating that Americans value putting healthful food on the table from a backyard garden is a really creative move.
It's difficult for me not to resent how far out of their way a lot of Americans have gone to try to destroy the Presidency of Barack Obama, never mind to discomfort his family. There's a difference between political disagreement and base behavior towards our country's highest elected public servant; we've seen plenty of the latter since we elected --and re-elected-- this President. The job is extremely difficult and thankless to begin with, and it's beyond shame that too many Americans have tried to make it even more so for our first African-American president and his family.
Do I reject cynicism? Yes I do, even though I know I have succumbed to injecting it into plenty of my posts on this forum. Sometimes it's been for fun, but sometimes it's been out of gloom and doom. Thanks for reminding me to reach for and celebrate the better side of human nature; I encourage others to do that as well.
(And now back to bashing Trump).
There's a difference between cynicism and scepticism. Cynicism often reveals a person's negativity towards their own species... scepticism just says have your facts straight.
Agreed, provided there are facts and not crass speculations spouted by so many conspiracy theorists (e.g., 'birthers').
It's wild that some of us may not even know what a fact is any more.
"It's a fact I saw someone say on TV that really the birthers got it right."
Crass speculation: that might have been posted by someone stirring the pot for the birthers.
Possibility: that might have been posted by someone getting ready to take on the birthers...
Take the SXSL event. You look at the coverage TechCrunch put up and your eye maybe falls on some celebrirty name like... ok let's take Leonard diCaprio since you have to have lived in a cave like I do not to have heard of him and even I've heard of him. Or you see the photo gallery they put up of the entertainers. So you sigh and you say yah, okay, some feelgood thing at the White House.
But the thing about SXSL was there was such a range of activities in that event, everything from info on the coming high tech of food for the billions of us on this planet, to virtual reality experiences of what it's like to be incarcerated in solitary, to listening to a real old timer in social justice (John Lewis) exhort young people today to get into trouble,
"what I call good trouble,” Lewis said. “Necessary trouble. It is time for each of you as young leaders to get in trouble — good trouble. Get in the way and make some noise. You have the ability. You have the capacity to do it. Just do it.”
Then I think about all the fossilized types who've got theirs and who want everyone else to shush and get on with life as their establishment --for all its crap track record in the past thirty, forty years-- has developed as the set of tracks we're supposed to ride on to a goal not of our own making. And it reminds me that I love old fogeys like Lewis who helped carve a path that kept us from being worse than we'd have become by now had it not been for people like him in the Civil Rights era. It's part of why I resist completely negative characterizations of Black Lives Matter members. Not everyone's a saint in any organization and not everyone will turn out to be a John Lewis either, but when something like Occupy Wall Street or Black Lives Matter takes on some aspect of the establishment, this is a country that ought to sit up and take notice because it's real people talking, inexpert or sometimes as misguided as some of them can be. And it's real people that turned out King George, real people who took on injustice in the 50s, real people trying to save the country from its own worst impulses right now.
Bottom line for me with SXSL, for all its glossy appeal and great mix of entertainment, high tech and down to earth information, food, celebrity and fun... that was a sneaky and very cool way of a President to, in Lewis' words, "get in trouble -- good trouble... get in the way and make some noise."